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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 12/21/07

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 11 TOKYO 005633

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 12/21/07


Index:

1) Top headlines
2) Editorials
3) Prime Minister's daily schedule (Nikkei)

4) Asahi poll: Cabinet support plummets 13 points to 31 PERCENT ,
with non-support rate now at 48 PERCENT ; If Lower House election,
38 PERCENT would vote for DPJ, 23 PERCENT for LDP (Asahi)

Defense and security affairs:
5) Diet deliberations to extend into January on new antiterrorism
special measures bill allowing MSDF refueling mission to continue
(Yomiuri)
6) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to present own counterproposal to
the government's antiterrorism special measures bill (Nikkei)
7) Defense scandal: JDA procurement officer in 2002 falsified
investigative report into bill padding by Yamada Corp. (Yomiuri)
8) Defense Ministry plans to test PAC3's missile intercept
capability next fall in the U.S. (Mainichi)
9) Draft defense budget contains a 9 billion cut in host nation
support for stationing U.S. forces in Japan (Nikkei)

10) Nation's budget draft for fiscal 2008 shows policy switch toward
assisting regional economies, socially weak population (Mainichi)

Political agenda:
11) Weak government decision on hepatitis C virus infections lawsuit
seen as lack of leadership by the prime minister (Sankei)
12) Prime Minister Fukuda puts off reaching conclusion on scrapping
and consolidating independent administrative corporations (Asahi)

13) New ROK President Lee in unusual move meets with U.S. and
Japanese ambassadors (Sankei)

14) China's ambassador believes the bilateral gas-field issue can be
resolved in the Fukuda-Hu summit meeting (Asahi)

15) Government report optimistic about Japan cutting greenhouse gas
emissions by 6 PERCENT under Kyoto Protocol (Yomiuri)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:
Public support for cabinet plummets to 31; 38 PERCENT say they
would choose DPJ in proportional representation in Lower House
election, 23 PERCENT LDP

Mainichi:
Kanagawa Prefectural Police superintendent admits to soliciting his
subordinate to join spiritual healing salon; Lives with female
president

Yomiuri:
Revision of agricultural administration: Income compensation for
small-scale farmers; Policy switch could give rise to concerns about
pork-barrel spending

Nikkei:
Toshiba to tie up with Sharp, withdrawing tie-ups with Matsushita

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and Hitachi: LCD panels to be procured at Sharp's Sakai plant

Sankei:
Drug-induced hepatitis: Reconciliation talks bog down with
plaintiffs refusing state proposal; Premier to continue
negotiations

Tokyo Shimbun:
Damage caused by pseudoreligious entity's spiritual healing business
likely to total 10 billion yen; Kanagawa police search home of
superintendent

Akahata:
Government refuses blanket relief for victims in lawsuit over
drug-induced hepatitis

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:
(1) Drug-induced hepatitis reconciliation proposal: More
resourcefulness needed for settlement
(2) NHK chairmanship: Business leaders are not appropriate

Mainichi:
(1) Drug-induced hepatitis reconciliation talks: Government proposal
shameful
(2) Draft fiscal 2008 budget: Future of fiscal reconstruction
worrisome

Yomiuri:
(1) Draft fiscal 2008 budget: Managing fiscal resources has reached
limits
(2) Missile defense: Important for Japan and U.S. to cooperate for
effective operation

Nikkei:
(1) Fukuda budget blurs road to fiscal reform
(2) Drug-induced hepatitis: Is the premier's desire for settlement
only lip service?

Sankei:
(1) Fiscal 2008 budget: Fiscal reconstruction possible with this
budget?
(2) Hepatitis lawsuit: State and plaintiffs should search for
settlement

Tokyo Shimbun:
(1) Drug-induced hepatitis: Search for breakthrough
(2) Informal release of draft budget: Too many appropriations to
make accounts balance

Akahata:
(1) Hepatitis lawsuit: Government should not abandon patients

3) Prime Minister's Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister's schedule, December 20

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 21, 2007

09:01

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Attended a special cabinet meeting in the Diet building. Later, met
Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Masuzoe and Chief Cabinet
Secretary Machimura. Machimura stayed behind.

SIPDIS

09:46
Met Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Ota at the Kantei.

10:34
Held an interview for a New Year special edition with former Nippon
Keidanren Chairman Okuda and Jomo Shimbun President Takahashi.

11:30
Met LDP Women's Section Chief Arimura. Later met Transport Minister
Fuyushiba. Followed by Machimura.

13:24
Met U.S. Ambassador Schieffer. Followed by deputy chief cabinet
secretaries Ono and Iwaki.

SIPDIS

14:55
Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

15:59
Met Administrative Reform Minister Watanabe. Followed by ocean law
Follow up study group president Nakagawa, former secretary general,
and co-chairmen Maehara, former DPJ president, and Oguchi, a New
Komeito member. Nakagawa stayed behind.

17:26
Met with Ota for recording for a year-end special program by a Gunma
TV station.

18:15
Met Japan Center for International Finance Advisor Watanabe.

19:03
Met Deputy Foreign Minister Kono

19:49
Met with Deputy Foreign Minister Yabunaka, Asian and Oceanian
Affairs Bureau Director General Sasae and others at the Grand Prince
Hotel Akasaka.

22:31
Returned to his private residence in Nozawa.

4) Poll: Cabinet support tumbles to 31 PERCENT ; DPJ outpaces LDP in
popularity rating for proportional representation

ASAHI (Top play) (Abridged)
December 21, 2007

The approval rating for Prime Minister Fukuda and his cabinet was 31
PERCENT in a telephone-based nationwide public opinion survey
conducted by the Asahi Shimbun on Dec. 19-20. The Fukuda cabinet's
support rate nosedived from the 44 PERCENT rating in the last
survey taken Dec. 1-2. Its nonsupport rate rose to 48 PERCENT from
36 PERCENT in the last survey. The Fukuda cabinet's nonsupport rate
topped its support rate for the first time. In the survey,
respondents were asked which political party they would vote for in
their proportional representation blocs if a general election were
to take place now for the House of Representatives. In this

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popularity rating, the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan
(Minshuto) scored 38 PERCENT (32 PERCENT in the last survey), with
the ruling Liberal Democratic Party at 23 PERCENT (32 PERCENT in
the last survey). As seen from these figures, the DPJ substantially
outpaced the LDP. There was not such a wide margin even when the Abe
cabinet was in office. The general public is growing critical of the
government and the LDP for pension record-keeping flaws and other
issues. The Diet, in its current extraordinary session, is debating
on a bill resuming the Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling
activities in the Indian Ocean. The ruling coalition is going to
revote on the bill in the House of Representatives should it be
voted down in the House of Councillors. In the survey this time,
there was an increase in the proportion of those negative about the
ruling coalition's move to override the bill in the lower chamber.

The Fukuda cabinet's inaugural support rate was 53 PERCENT , which
was comparatively high among its predecessors. It remained over 40
PERCENT thereafter. However, the Fukuda cabinet's support rate fell
to the level of the Abe cabinet's support rate at its last stage.
The most common reason given for not supporting the Fukuda cabinet
was "from the aspect of policies" at 57 PERCENT , standing out from
all other reasons.

On the issue of pension record-keeping flaws, there are records that
are still unclear for about 50 million persons, including about 20
million unidentifiable persons. In the survey, respondents were
asked if they thought it was a breach of the Fukuda cabinet's public
pledge. In response to this question, 60 PERCENT answered "yes,"
with 30 PERCENT saying "no." Respondents were also asked if they
appreciated the Fukuda cabinet's efforts on the issue of pension
record-keeping flaws. To this question, affirmative answers
accounted for only 36 PERCENT , with negative answers adding up to
46 PERCENT . Respondents were further asked if they could expect the
Fukuda cabinet to dissolve public distrust in pensions. In response,
a total of 72 PERCENT answered "no," with only 17 PERCENT saying
"yes."

In a survey taken upon the Fukuda cabinet's inauguration, the
proportion of those having expectations for the Fukuda cabinet's
efforts on the pension issue was as high as 67 PERCENT . In the
survey this time, however, the Fukuda cabinet is called into
question over whether it can deliver on its pledge.

Under such circumstances, there is also a change in public attitudes
over the timing of a general election for the House of
Representatives. Respondents were asked if they thought a general
election should be held at an early date. To this question, "yes"
accounted for 39 PERCENT (34 PERCENT in the last survey), with
"no" at 48 PERCENT (55 PERCENT ). Among DPJ supporters, "yes"
accounted for 69 PERCENT . Among LDP supporters, "no" totaled 71
PERCENT . Asked about the desirable form of government, the
proportion of those opting for a DPJ-led coalition government
increased to 41 PERCENT (36 PERCENT in the last survey), and the
proportion of those choosing an LDP-led coalition government
decreased to 28 PERCENT (37 PERCENT in the last survey).

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP
stood at 27 PERCENT (31 PERCENT in the last survey), with the DPJ
at 25 PERCENT (31 PERCENT in the last survey). Among other
political parties, New Komeito, the LDP's coalition partner, was at
3 PERCENT , with the Japanese Communist Party at 2 PERCENT and the
Social Democratic Party (Shaminto) at 1 PERCENT .

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Commentary: Fukuda cabinet likely to lose momentum

The Fukuda cabinet's approval rating plummeted and is now down
almost to 30 PERCENT , which is said to be the danger zone. The
opposition parties hold a majority of the seats in the House of
Councillors, and Prime Minister Fukuda is walking a tightrope to
steer the Diet. Meanwhile, people are now distancing themselves from
Fukuda. The situation for Fukuda and his government will likely be
even more difficult. Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsumura hoped to have
the Fukuda cabinet's support rate somehow sustained over 40 PERCENT
. However, the support rate fell below 40 PERCENT . The prime
minister will inevitably lose momentum to lead his ruling
coalition.

5) New antiterrorism bill now certain to be carried over to next
year

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
December 21, 2007

The ruling coalition requested in a meeting of the House of
Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday that a
vote be taken on the government's new antiterrorism bill on Dec. 27.
But the opposition bloc declined the request, citing that
deliberations have yet to be fully carried out. Since the 27th is
the day of the committee's last regular meeting, it is now certain
that the bill will be carried over to January.

6) Reversing its stance, DPJ to submit alternative bill to
government's new refueling legislation in attempt to dampen
government, ruling bloc's plan for re-adoption in Lower House

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)
December 21, 2007

Major opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)
President Ichiro Ozawa discussed at party headquarters last night
Diet measures with Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama and other party
executives. In the session, Ozawa ordered them to submit an
alternative bill to the government's new legislation to resume the
Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling operation in the Indian
Ocean to the House of Councillors as early as today. The DPJ
temporarily gave up on presenting its own bill, but the cabinet's
support rates in various opinion polls have plummeted recently and
opposition to resuming the refueling operation has also sharply
increased. The largest opposition party is set to step up its
criticism of the government and ruling bloc that are aiming to
readopt the legislation in the House of Representatives by demanding
thorough deliberations on the DPJ's counterproposal.

After the meeting, DPJ Diet Affairs Committee Chairman Kenji Yamaoka
said to the press: "The Diet session has been extended for over one
month, so we will fulfill our responsibility in our own way. We
think people, including the prime minister, are willing to consider
the matter with us."

Deliberation time on the new refueling legislation will reach 41
hours on Dec. 27 on par with the Lower House, as was asked by the
opposition camp. However, the opposition bloc intends to forgo a
plan to take a vote before year's end in the opposition-controlled
Upper House on the grounds that priority should be given to shedding

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light on scandals over procurement at the Ministry of Defense (MOD).
The opposition bloc also aims to make a decision on whether to
submit a censure motion against Prime Minister Fukuda by watching
developments in the MOD scandals until the current Diet session
closes on Jan. 15.

Whether there will be new developments, as the opposition camp
expects, remains to be seen. It is inevitable for the ruling camp to
criticize the opposition bloc's strategy to postpone a vote, arguing
that the new refueling legislation has been discussed thoroughly.
Once discussion begins on the counterproposal, such criticism can be
averted.

7) JDA procurement officer faked report in favor of Yamada Corp.

YOMIURI (Page 1) (Slightly abridged)
December 21, 2007

It was revealed yesterday in a House of Councillors Foreign Affairs
and Defense Committee session that a procurement official at the
then Defense Agency had faked a report in March 2002 in favor of
defense equipment trader Yamada Corp. that padded the bill for chaff
and flare dispensers for Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopters.
The procurement officer was dispatched to do field investigations at
British defense contractor BAE Systems' factory in the United
States. At yesterday's committee session, responding to questions by
Tsutomu Okubo of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto),

SIPDIS
Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba offered an apology and said that he
would consider punishing the procurement official. He said: "It
cannot be denied that the procurement official acted in line with
Yamada's will. I will take proper action."

In February 2002, BAE Systems pointed out that the estimates Yamada
Corp. submitted to the agency were "fabrications." The agency then
dispatched the procurement official to the BAE factory in the U.S.
to discover the truth. The procurement official wrote in his report:
"(As a result of meetings with BAE officials in charge of the
matter) they apologized saying 'we have caused much trouble for the
Defense Agency and Yamada Corp.'" Consequently, Yamada was able to
escape punishment by the agency. However, the procurement official
said in an interview held later: "I did not meet any BAE officials
in the U.S. I wrote that in my report at the suggestion of a Yamada
Corp. subsidiary employee."

8) PAC-3 also to be tested next fall in U.S. for 1st time

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)
December 21, 2007

The Defense Ministry announced a plan yesterday to test the
ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) interceptor
system in the United States in the fall of next year for the first
time. The PAC-3, a ground-to-air guided missile as one of Japan's
two missile defense (MD) components, was first introduced to Japan
in March this year. The PAC-3 test will be carried out at the White
Sands missile range in the U.S. state of New Mexico, and the U.S.
Army will cooperate on the test. The Defense Ministry explains that
it is difficult to test the PAC-3 in Japan because it is too
powerful. The Finance Ministry's fiscal 2008 budget plan, informally
presented yesterday, earmarks approximately 1 billion yen for the
test.


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The PAC-3 will be deployed to four bases in the metropolitan area by
March next year and to a total of 16 bases across the nation by
fiscal 2012.

Normally, newly introduced weapons are to be tested before
deployment. However, the Defense Ministry decided to go ahead with
PAC-3 deployment in the metropolitan area because the threat of
ballistic missiles from North Korea and other countries is growing,
according to a senior official of the ministry.

9) Finance Ministry proposes 9 billion yen cut in sympathy budget

NIKKEI (Page 9) (Full)
December 21, 2007

The fiscal 2008 draft budget presented by the Finance Ministry
proposes a 0.5 PERCENT cut in the defense budget, down for the
sixth year in a row and the lowest level since fiscal 1995. Although
there were such factors for increasing expenditures as fuel price
hikes, the ministry decided to review Japan's host-nation support
for U.S. military forces in Japan (the so-called sympathy budget)
and to improve the efficiency of procurement of defense equipment.

The draft budget reduces the sympathy budget by 9 billion yen to
208.3 billion yen and outlays for facility maintenance, such as
housing for U.S. troops, by 9.5 billion yen. As measures to improve
the procurement process, the ministry suggests that an open bidding
system should be introduced in place of the current negotiated
contract system. To curb spending for equipment procurement, the
draft budget sets the target of a 15 PERCENT cost cut by fiscal
2011.

The draft budget allocates 19.1 billion yen in expenses for U.S.
force realignment plans. To local communities whose financial burden
will increase due to relocation plans, 6.2 billion yen in grants
will be allocated. The draft budget also calls for significantly
increased budgetary allocations to plans to transfer the U.S. Marine
Corps' Futenma Air Station and relocate planes on an aircraft
carrier to Iwakuni. The draft budget further allocates 2.2 billion
yen in activities expenses by the Maritime Self-Defense Force in
anticipation of the resumption of its refueling mission in the
Indian Ocean.

The Finance Ministry proposes 133.8 billion yen in spending on the
missile defense (MD) system and 56.2 billion yen in expenditures for
improving the capability of the PAC-3 Patriot missile.

10) Fiscal 2008 budget: Intensive appropriation of funds with eye on
blocs of votes: Policy switch to give priority to regional areas,
socially weak

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
December 21, 2007

The Finance Ministry's fiscal 2008 draft budget and draft
supplementary budget for fiscal 2007 center on the so-called
downside of the Koizumi reform initiative, such as rural areas,
agriculture and elderly people. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
has concluded that those areas were the causes of its defeat in the
July Upper House election. All party members, including
reform-oriented groups, have made a policy switch to attach
importance to measures to deal with problems regional areas and the

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socially weak are facing with eye on a dissolution of the Lower
House and a snap election. Their policy switch has also been
necessitated due to the Democratic Party of Japan's (DPJ or
Minshuto) policy of giving priority to people's livelihoods.
However, the appropriations of budgetary funds in view of attracting
blocs of votes could hamper the effort to reconstruct public
finances.

DPJ Policy Research Council Chairman Sadakazu Taniguchi in a speech
given at a plenary meeting of his faction on Dec. 20 stressed that
budget requests made within the party have generally been adopted.
He noted, "It was difficult to compile the budget. However, we have
taken pressing issues, such as a sharp rise in crude oil prices and
agricultural administration, into consideration." Taniguchi was
originally one of the members of the group calling for fiscal
reconstruction in principle, but it appears that he has simplified
the matters by thinking that there is no other way this time.

In order to stress a stance of attaching importance to regional
areas out of reflection on the outcome of the Upper House election,
400 billion yen from two corporate tax sources (business tax and
resident tax) concentrated in urban areas would be diverted to local
governments. Tokyo Metropolitan Governor Shintaro Ishihara opposed
the proposal, but he in the end accepted it in a meeting with Prime
Minister Yasuo Fukuda, saying, "You may as well contend against the
authorities as reason with a crying child."

The common perception is that impoverished local governments damped
the moves of local organizations during the Upper House election
campaign. It would be impossible to increase allocations of
consumption tax revenues to local governments as requested when the
opposition camp has dominance in the Upper House, as a senior
official of the LDP Tax Research Council put it. For this reason, an
increase in local allocation tax grants for the first time in three
years and transfers of fiscal resources from cities and rural areas
symbolized budgetary measures for regional areas.

Agricultural reform started in April. However, the new initiative is
unpopular for focusing on large-scale farmers. In response, four LDP
executives in an unprecedented move inspected rural areas. The
party then incorporated 79.8 billion yen in the supplementary draft
budget, which is not subject to the budgetary request guidelines for
fiscal 2008, making a public appeal for its measure for small-size
farmers, who are said to be moving away from the LDP.

11) Prime Minister Fukuda, battered and wounded, unable to display
leadership in settling hepatitis-C issue

SANKEI (Page 5) (Excerpts)
December 21, 2007

Out-of-court settlement talks on compensation for hepatitis-C
infections caused by tainted blood products have ruptured, and the
government has retreated from planned reform of independent
administrative institutions.

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda yesterday failed to show his leadership
in dealing with two issues on which he was required to make
political decisions. He has given the impression that he favored the
bureaucracy and has turned a cold shoulder to the public. Some
members of the ruling parties are now expressing their
dissatisfaction with the government's response to the hepatitis C

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problem. With approval ratings for the Fukuda cabinet plunging due
to the pension-records mess, the Fukuda government is facing even
more adversity by the latest moves.

"Society should not always take it out on civil servants," Fukuda
stated in an interview to the Jomo Shimbun, a local newspaper in
Gunma Prefecture, his hometown. He strongly indicated a position of
backing the bureaucracy.

Fukuda has long been regarded as favoring the bureaucracy since his
father Takeo once worked at the Finance Ministry. It can be said
that Fukuda's response yesterday to the hepatitis C issue and the
reform of independent administrative institutions "exposed his
tendency to be completely swayed by the arguments of the
bureaucrats," as one mid-level Liberal Democratic Party member
said.

Asked by the press last night about his view on the hepatitis-C
sufferers' rejection of the government proposal, Fukuda said: "I
apologize to the victims for the reoccurrence of a drug-induced
disease. We don't think the problem will end with this. We will
respond flexibly following the ruling set by the Osaka High Court."


For Fukuda, the issue of settlement talks is entirely in the hands
of Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Yoichi Masuzoe, though he is
listening to health ministry officials' views. He failed to make a
political decision that went beyond the judicial judgment. He never
used the wording "my decision."

12) Prime minister puts off conclusion on streamlining independent
administrative corporations

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 21, 2007

To listen to their views before determining the fate of the Urban
Renaissance Agency and the Japan Housing Finance Agency, Prime
Minister Fukuda met separately with Land, Infrastructure and
Transport Minister Fuyushiba, who opposes privatizing the two
corporations, and Administrative Reform Minister Watanabe, who
insists on their privatization. After meeting them, the prime
minister told reporters: "We need to investigate a little more.
Study is still underway," and he put off a conclusion until
tomorrow.

Fuyushiba expressed his desire to retain the two corporations,
remarking: "Even if they are reformed in the future, the people will
be seriously troubled if they do not keep their current status." In
reaction, Watanabe stressed the need for privatizing them.

The plan for streamlining independent special corporations, after
being authorized by the prime minister, will likely be adopted at a
cabinet meeting on the 24th following the necessary procedures taken
in the ruling camp tomorrow.

13) ROK president-elect in rare move holds meetings with Japanese,
U.S. ambassadors

SANKEI (Page 2) (Excerpts)
December 21, 2007


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Katsuhiro Kuroda, Seoul

South Korean President-elect Lee Myung Bak of the Grand National
Party held a meeting yesterday at party headquarters with Japanese
Ambassador to South Korea Toshinori Shigeie and discussed future
Japan-South Korea relations and other matters. The meeting followed
one with the U.S. ambassador. It is extremely rare for a
president-elect to hold meetings with Japanese and U.S. ambassadors
on the day after the election. The events drew much attention as
indicating Lee's stance of attaching importance to Japan and the
United States.

In the meeting, Ambassador Shigeie conveyed to Lee congratulatory
messages from Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Foreign Minister
Masahiko Koumura. In response, Lee expressed his intention to make
efforts to build new bilateral relations and strengthen cooperation
in dealing with North Korea, stressing the importance of Japan-South
Korea relations. At the same time, the president-elect requested
Japan's greater investment in his country for improving economic
relations.

With the establishment of a new South Korean administration, Tokyo
and Seoul are aiming to improve bilateral relations that have become
icy under the Roh Moo Hyun administration.

For starters on the diplomatic front, Prime Minister Fukuda is
expected to visit South Korea to attend Lee's inauguration on Feb.
25. Tokyo and Seoul are also studying a visit to Japan by President
Lee Myung Bak coinciding with the G8 Lake Toya Summit in Hokkaido in
July.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of the Japan-South Korea joint
declaration and the 21st century Japan-South Korea action program,
released in 1998 during the age of President Kim Dae Jung and Prime
Minister Keizo Obuchi. For this reason, plans are in the works in
the two countries to strengthen and expand bilateral relations by
reconfirming them.

14) Gas field issue can be resolved, says Chinese ambassador,
pinning hopes on summit talks

ASAHI (Page 4) (Full)
December 21, 2007

Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cui Tiankai, 55, held a press conference
yesterday at the Japan National Press Club. In the session, touching
on Prime Minister Fukuda's planned visit to China from Dec. 27 and
Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan next spring, Cui said:
"They are important for (China-Japan) relations. I would like to see
the two leaders exchange in-depth views on the future of bilateral
relations thoroughly."

In his first press meeting after assuming office, Ambassador Cui
also said about Prime Minister Fukuda: "I have high regard for his
stance of putting high priority on China-Japan relations and Asia
diplomacy." He also noted about the upcoming series of talks between
the two leaders: "I hope they will draw a blueprint for the
long-term development of the two countries and build a good
framework."

Additionally, regarding the question of jointly developing gas
fields in the East China Sea, on which the Japan-China foreign

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ministerial in early December confirmed to aim at settlement by
Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China, the Chinese ambassador said:
"The two countries are facing it with a sense of urgency." He also
expressed hope for finding a breakthrough in the talks between the
two leaders, saying: "From the broad standpoint of China-Japan
relations and long-term common interests, it is a matter that must
be resolved without fail. It is a matter that can be resolved."

Meanwhile, regarding Japan-North Korea relations, including the
abduction issue, he only said: "In the framework of the six-party
talks, a working group has been established for the normalization of
Japan-North Korean relations. I expect that they will be handled
appropriately through a dialogue between Japan and North Korea."

Ambassador Cui, a native of Shanghai, served as an Asian affairs
bureau chief and an assistant foreign minister.

15) METI, Environment Ministry in joint report to endorse
possibility of 6 PERCENT cut in greenhouse gas emissions

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
December 21, 2007

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the
Environment Ministry will finalize a final report today on a review
of the nation's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the
target set in the Kyoto Protocol. The report will require the
industrial world and other sectors to reduce an additional 35
million to 36 million tons of gas emissions, specifying that Japan
will be able to attain the target of cutting emissions by 6 PERCENT
from 1990 levels for fiscal 6 PERCENT .

Under the current plan, it would be difficult for the nation to
achieve the target, estimating that Japan's emissions would come in
20 million to 34 million tons higher than what is need to meet its
obligation.

The draft report notes that industrial circles' upward revisions in
their voluntary action plans will make it possible to cut 18 million
tons more. The draft also says that emissions will be reduced by up
to 11.5 million tons by applying heat insulation to more houses and
improving automobiles' fuel economy, as well as by up to 10.5
million tons by promoting energy conservation at households.

DONOVAN

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